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Law Enforcement News
LAPD Mourns Becky Strong, 10th Officer To Die From COVID-19
Funeral services were held Monday for Los Angeles Police Department Officer Becky Strong, who died recently of complications from COVID-19. Officers, friends and family members gathered at Forest Lawn in Covina to say goodbye to Strong, who had been with the department since 1994. The 57-year-old was the 10th COVID-related death in the department. Chief Michel Moore described Strong as an officer who did her job with heart. "For those that knew her best, I'm told Becky was funny, loud and sassy," Moore said. Family and friends, dressed in white, grieved the loss but celebrated a woman who enjoyed planning a party. "Now I'm the oldest but you would think Becky was the oldest because she did have a bossy spirit," said Strong's sister, Wendy Calloway. "It was just who she was, but we liked it. We liked it when she said I want you here at 10:00, bring the tacos and margarita mix. We just liked that stuff." Strong was assigned for a majority of her recent years to the department's South Traffic Division. Strong is survived by her husband, who is a retired CHP sergeant, and a stepdaughter who works as a CHP dispatcher. "Becky is now an angel watching over all of us," said Strong's friend, Officer Jerretta Sandoz. "I love you and I will see you again."
Murderer From Hacienda Heights Goes Free After DA Refuses To Move Case
A convicted double murderer from Hacienda Heights is about to walk out of prison over a technicality. In April of 2006, along a flood canal near Hacienda Blvd and Colima, 17-year-old Chris Murray and his buddies, who were armed, confronted 15-year-old Christopher Trevizo and 17-year-old Demetrius Flores over a marijuana deal gone bad - Flores’ 17-year-old twin brother Damon was also there. LA County Sheriff’s Detective Steve Blagg says Murray shot Trevizo in the head and Flores in the neck, Flores died on the scene – Trevizo died 6-days later. Flores’ brother was shot running away but faked his death until Murray and his accomplices left the area. Blagg says within 24-hours Murray was arrested. In 2007, Murray was convicted in adult court for the murders of Trevizo and Flores, and the attempted murder of Flores – Murray was given 2 Life Without Parole Sentences for the murders, and 79 years to life for the attempted murder. In 2009, Blagg says Murray’s attorneys petitioned the court for resentencing, claiming the original sentences were excessive. The motion sat in limbo for years. In 2016, Proposition 57 made the ballot and passed, making it mandatory for juvenile cases to be automatically adjudicated in juvenile court. The only exception would be if the District Attorney of the presiding jurisdiction filed a motion to transfer the case to adult court. Prop 57 would also be retroactive, meaning previous cases could fall under the new law.
Los Angeles Police Release Description Of Man Suspected In Vaccine Protest Stabbing
Los Angeles police are asking for the public’s help identifying a person they believe is responsible for stabbing another person during a vaccine protest that turned violent in front of City Hall on Saturday. The stabbing happened around 2 p.m. near 1st and Spring streets, police said. “During a protest, the suspect used a knife or a sharp object to stab the victim once in the upper right chest area,” police said. The suspect is described as a white or Latino male with long blonde hair, police said. The suspect was last seen wearing a bandana, hoodie and skinny jeans with holes in the knees — all black. The suspect was also last seen wearing a pair of white tennis shoes, police said. Anyone with information about the person’s whereabouts is asked to contact Central Area Det. Cheng at 213-996-1248. During nonbusiness hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to (877) 527-3247. Those who wish to make an anonymous tip can call L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477 or visit www.lacrimestoppers.org.
Los Angeles Times
Husband Of Child Care Center Operator Arrested On Suspicion Of Inappropriate Sexual Conduct Against Minors: LAPD
The husband of a licensed child care center operator in Los Angeles was arrested last week after being accused of inappropriate sexual conduct, officials announced Monday. Marco Cruz Ruiz was arrested on Aug. 10 after an investigation found that he allegedly inappropriately touched three adolescent victims at the Ruiz Family Child Care Center between 2005 and 2020, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a news release. The L.A. County District Attorney’s Office filed multiple felony charges and issued the warrant for Ruiz’s arrest, police said. Detectives are asking anyone with further information to come forward. Any additional information can be provided by calling the LAPD Juvenile Division at 424-259-7094. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-527-3247.
Man Charged In Wrong-Way Encino Crash That Killed Girlfriend, Injured Their 4 Children
A Los Angeles man was charged Monday, Aug. 16, with murder and other counts stemming from a wrong-way crash on the 101 Freeway in Encino that left his girlfriend dead and their four children injured. He was also trying to kill the children, said a statement by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Cesar Iban Torres, 31, faces one count each of murder, assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest, along with four counts each of attempted murder and child abuse, according to the D.A.’s Office. Torres was driving a 2003 Lincoln SUV westbound in the eastbound lanes of the 101 Freeway near the I-405 Freeway when the vehicle collided head-on with a 2016 Kenworth tractor-trailer at about 7:10 p.m. Thursday, according to the California Highway Patrol. Torres’ girlfriend, Aimee Garcia, 26, was killed, and the couple’s four children — 1 to 7 years old — suffered moderate injuries, according to the District Attorney’s Office. After the crash, Torres allegedly attempted to flee, according to the CHP.
Los Angeles Daily News
Hit-and-Run Driver Sought In Hollywood Hills Crash That Left 5 Pedestrians Injured, Including 2 Critically
A Hollywood Hills crash that left five people injured, including two critically, was determined to be a hit and run, police said Monday. The incident occurred about 9 p.m. Sunday when a vehicle hit the pedestrians in the 7000 block of West Mulholland Drive, not far from the Hollywood Bowl. The driver did not stop to render assistance to the victims, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. A 19-year-old man and a 16-year-old girl were taken to a local hospital in critical condition following the crash. The LAPD later said the two teens were expected to survive. The three others who were struck experienced minor injuries and declined transportation to the hospital, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. The car was described as possibly being a white Honda Civic. No description of the driver was immediately available.
LA Father, Son From Pacific Palisades Arrested In Hawaii For Fake Vaccine Cards
A Los Angeles-area father and son have been arrested for allegedly trying to use fake COVID-19 vaccine cards in Hawaii to bypass the mandatory quarantine there. Norbert Chung, 57, and his son Trevor, 19, from the Pacific Palisades were arrested Sunday at the Honolulu airport after someone tipped off investigators. On Linked In, Norbert Chung says he is founder and president of The Pacific Palisades Group. If convicted, they could face a fine of up to $5,000 and/or up to a year in jail.
Police Have New Video Footage Of Man, 67, Who Went Missing In Beverly Hills
Police Saturday said they have video footage of a man who missing in Beverly Hills on Wednesday exiting a Metro bus in West Los Angeles. The footage shows James Kostrach, 67, exiting a bus at Westwood and Wilshire boulevards, the Beverly Hills Police Department reported. Prior to that, Kotstrach, who suffers from dementia, was last seen at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday near La Peer Drive and Olympic Boulevard. He was described as white, 5-feet-8 inches tall, 140 pounds, with brown hair and eyes. He was wearing a blue-and-brown plaid shirt, blue jeans, black boots, and a tan cowboy hat. Anyone knowing his whereabouts was urged to call police at 310-285-2137.
Robert Durst Testifies He Found Longtime Friend Dead Inside Her Home
New York real estate scion Robert Durst testified Monday that he sent police a letter letting them know about a cadaver inside Susan Berman’s Benedict Canyon home after finding her body there in December of 2000. Durst said he unsuccessfully dialed 9-1-1 from a dead landline phone, then drove to a payphone. He said he then decided not to call the police because he feared his voice would be recognized and did not want to give them his name. Durst said he then sent Beverly Hills Police the letter. “Did you write that letter?” Durst’s lead attorney, Dick DeGuerin, asked his client. “Yes, I did,” Durst responded. “Did you lie about it for years?” DeGuerin asked. Durst responded that he had lied about it because “it’s a very difficult thing to believe” that he wrote it but “did not kill Susan Berman.” He denies killing Berman saying he had no reason to kill his longtime friend.
Santa Monica Police Seek Suspects In Assault
Police Friday were seeking a group of males who assaulted a man in front of a restaurant in Santa Monica. Santa Monica Police Department officers were called at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday to the 100 block of Wilshire Boulevard, near Ocean Avenue and the 3rd Street Promenade, and found the man lying on his back “with a significant injury to his head” in the street in front of 800 Degrees Woodfired Kitchen, according to the department’s Sgt. Erika Aklufi. The man was taken to a hospital, where he is being treated for his injuries. Witnesses at the scene told police that a group of males approached the man and assaulted him, causing him to fall to the ground and lose consciousness, Aklufi said. A possible motive for the attack was not provided. The suspects fled the scene on foot traveling northbound on Second Street from Wilshire Boulevard. As many as seven suspects were seen in the group and were involved in the fight. The suspect who knocked the victim unconscious was described as a Black man between 20- and 30-years-old, 5 feet, 10 inches to 6 feet tall and weighing between 180 and 200 pounds. He was last seen wearing a white long-sleeve shirt and black pants.
‘Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)’ Rapper Silento Indicted For Murder
The victim was gunned down in the street earlier this year and investigators linked the rapper to the crime. A Georgia grand jury has officially indicted rapper Silento for the January shooting death of his cousin. TheGRIO previously reported, Silento, born Richard Hawk, was arrested and charged earlier this year with the murder of his cousin Frederick Rooks. The victim was gunned down in the street on Jan. 21, in DeKalb County, and investigators linked Silento to the crime. According to a report from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, police gathered video from the security cameras of several neighboring residences. The footage showed several cars fleeing the scene. “After a thorough investigation, DKPD detectives identified Hawk as Rooks’ cousin and the person responsible for Rooks’ murder,” police spokeswoman Michaela Vincent said. Hawk has had several interactions with police in the past year. In August, he was arrested twice in one week on domestic violence charges. The incidents occurred in Los Angeles, where police responded to a domestic disturbance. He was booked and released; then, the next day, he was arrested after showing up at a home wielding a hatchet, claiming he was looking for his girlfriend. One of the occupants reportedly had a gun and was able to disarm him.
California Man Allegedly Rapes 8-Year-Old Girl Before Grandfather Chases Him Out Of House
San Jose police in California have arrested a man accused of breaking into a family's home earlier this month and raping an 8-year-old girl before her grandfather chased him out of the house, according to authorities. Dupree Kenneth Hornsby, 24, is accused of breaking into the victim's home on Aug. 6 around 7:30 a.m. PT on the 100 block of Damsen Drive, where he found her playing in her room, at which point he sexually assaulted her, according to the district attorney's office. "This nightmare of a crime has shaken all of us," District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in an Aug. 10 statement. "The alert police officer who saw and arrested this predator just hours later, and before anyone else was hurt, is a credit to the badge and our community." Once Dupree stopped allegedly assaulting the child, she ran to her grandfather, who chased the suspect out of their house, according to The Mercury News. Hornsby has no ties to the juvenile victim nor her family, according to the San Jose Police Department and district attorney.
Michigan Deputy Dies After Being Shot During Pursuit
A Michigan sheriff’s deputy who was shot by a suspect during a pursuit died Sunday. Deputy Ryan Proxmire, a nine-year veteran of the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office, responded to a Galesburg gas station Saturday with a group of other officers trying to take a suspect into custody after he evaded police earlier in the day, police said in a statement. As deputies approached, the suspect fled in his car and fired at the officers. Proxmire, 40, was hit and his car spun off the road. A witness stopped and called 911. Proxmire was hospitalized in critical condition and succumbed to his injuries Sunday. The other deputies continued the pursuit for another four miles, eventually engaging in a shootout with the suspect, who was killed. “Deputy Proxmire’s death earlier today from wounds suffered in a shooting last night should remind us of the danger law enforcement officers face every single day on the job,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement Sunday. “Like his colleagues in uniform, Deputy Proxmire pledged to protect and serve his community. Today he paid that commitment with his life – the ultimate sacrifice."
New York Daily News
Police: K-9 Stabbed, Trooper Attacked After New Jersey Pursuit
A knife-wielding man stabbed a police dog and attacked a state trooper Monday after a pursuit that ended on the New Jersey Turnpike in South Jersey, authorities said. Troopers were initially called to a shirtless man, armed with a knife, standing outside his vehicle on Interstate 295 near exit 28 in Bellmawr Borough shortly after 2 p.m., according to the New Jersey State Police. The man got in his vehicle and drove away when troopers arrived, leading to a chase, according to police. A short time later, the fleeing suspect exited Interstate 295 at exit 36A, to Route 73 before getting on the Turnpike by Interchange 4, authorities said. Troopers continued to pursue the suspect northbound on the highway before his vehicle was disabled at milepost 37.1, according to the State Police.
Public Safety News
Man Killed, Firefighter Injured In Blaze At Commercial Building In Florence: LAFD
A man’s remains were found amid the search for a worker who went missing during a blaze that also left a firefighter injured at a commercial structure in South Los Angeles Monday afternoon, officials said. Firefighters responded around 3:30 p.m. to the building in the Florence neighborhood on the 1000 block of East 60th Street that is believed to contain a metal furnishings manufacturing firm, the L.A. Fire Department said in an alert. The deceased victim was believed to be one of two employees who ran into the burning building before firefighters arrived, LAFD said. One of the men escaped to safety, but the other was not seen exiting and was later unaccounted for. Firefighters searched the charred structure for more than an hour, including in areas that were densely packed with metal storage, before the remains were found, officials said. Coroner’s officials were working to positively identify the victim’s remains and determine exactly how he died.
COVID-19 Cases Among Pregnant Women In LA County Tripled In Recent Weeks
Los Angeles County on Monday reported more than 2,400 new COVID-19 cases, and noted a recent tripling of weekly cases among pregnant women. The county warned of the recent tripling, reporting that 27 cases were reported during the week that ended June 27, while 81 were reported during the week ending July 25. The County Department of Public Health is encouraging pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding to get vaccinated. "Unfortunately, pregnant women are at high risk for serious health problems if they become infected with COVID-19," county Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. "Getting vaccinated is the best way to reduce the risks of COVID-19 infection and complications for both you and your baby. If you are pregnant or a new mom, we encourage you to get vaccinated as soon as you can and you can get vaccinated at any time during pregnancy. Studies continue to show the vaccines are safe for expecting and new moms and are very effective against COVID-19 and the Delta variant."
California Sees Signs Delta Surge Is Slowing, But A New Challenge Looms
California enters a crucial phase in its battle against the Delta variant this week — the reopening of schools — with some hopeful signs: The number of people being infected and falling seriously ill with COVID-19 is no longer accelerating at dramatic rates and even beginning to flatten in some areas. Many experts are optimistic over the progress, but some officials stressed it’s too early to know definitively whether the surge caused by the highly contagious strain is peaking. California is now reporting about 11,800 new coronavirus cases a day over the last week, up 7% from the previous week, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis. That’s a far slower pace of increase than in the previous week, when there was a 30% jump in daily cases, and much better than in early July, when there was an 86% week-over-week increase. Daily cases remain far below the pandemic peak of nearly 45,000 new cases a day.
Los Angeles Times
US Expected To Recommend COVID Boosters For All 8 Months After 2nd Dose
U.S. experts are expected to recommend COVID-19 vaccine boosters for all Americans, regardless of age, eight months after they received their second dose of the shot, to ensure lasting protection against the coronavirus as the delta variant spreads across the country. Federal health officials have been actively looking at whether extra shots for the vaccinated would be needed as early as this fall, reviewing case numbers in the U.S. as well as the situation in other countries such as Israel, where preliminary studies suggest the vaccine’s protection against serious illness dropped among those vaccinated in January. An announcement on the U.S. booster recommendation was expected as soon as this week, two people familiar with the matter told NBC News. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The recommendation would apply only to people who have gotten the two-shot Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
Local Government News
Councilman Joe Buscaino Aims To Ban Homeless Encampments Around LA’s Schools
A Harbor Area councilman said Monday he plans to introduce a resolution banning homeless encampments in 500-foot radius zones around school sites, using a new Los Angeles city law set to go into effect early September. Councilman Joe Buscaino, who represents San Pedro and its surrounding communities, announced his plans in a news conference outside Larchmont Charter School, as students were heading back to in-person learning at local schools. He said it was unfortunate that students now heading back to school campuses to attend class, following more than a year of remote-learning necessitated by efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, will encounter homeless encampments. “That is why I am proposing a no camping zone around every public school in the city of Los Angeles,” he said.
Los Angeles Daily News